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Sex phobia (erotophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

Sex phobia (erotophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

September 5, 2022

Sex is one of the greatest pleasures that human beings can experience, and it is beneficial not only on a physical level, but also to promote well-being. However, some people suffer great fear of sex and sexuality, what is known as erotophobia or sex phobia .

Erotophobia is an irrational fear of everything that has to do with sex and sexuality, and it is a complex disorder whose symptoms can vary from one individual to another. Some feel a great fear when they come in contact with sexual objects, others feel panic to sexual intimacy and others to penetration. People with this phobia can experience high doses of fear of any type of sexual act or the possibility of intimacy with another person .

  • Related article: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

Types of sex phobia

Regarding the irrational fear, anxiety and avoidance experienced by people with erotophobia, the object or situation that causes the phobia can vary from one case to another, as well as its severity.

Erotophobia is a complex disorder which includes other specific sexual phobias. They are the following.

1. Genophobia

Also known as coitophobia , refers to irrational fear and peaks of stress before intercourse with intercourse. Individuals with this condition can initiate romantic relationships, enjoy activities such as kissing or hugging, but feel great fear of sexual intercourse and penetration.

2. Gymnophobia

It is also called nudofobia, is the fear of nudity . It is a complex disorder in which people are afraid of being naked and the people around are afraid.

This fear may indicate body image problems or feelings of inadequacy, although it can also occur as a consequence of a traumatic experience.

3. Fear of privacy

This fear has nothing to do with the sexual act, but with the fact feel close to the other person in both the emotional and physical sense .

4. Paraphobia

The fear of sexual perversion is also a complicated phobia. Some people are afraid of perverting themselves, while others fear the perversions of others.

Some people with paraphobia are able to enjoy traditional sexual relationships that fit well within their personal moral code, while others are afraid that any form of intimacy can be perverted.

5. Haphophobia

This phobia is characterized by fear of physical contact, that is, to be touched , and often affects all relationships, not just those of a romantic nature. Some people experience it at the least contact, while others experience more prolonged contact.

6. Vulnerability phobia

Like extreme fear of intimacy, fear of vulnerability is often linked to fear of abandonment. Many people They are afraid to show themselves as they are , because they believe that this way they will not like others. Fear of vulnerability can affect many relationships, both sexual and non-sexual.

7. Filemafobia

Also known as filematophobia, it is the fear of kisses . It can have many causes and is often linked to physical concerns, such as a concern about bad breath or even phobia of germs.

Causes of sex phobia

Sex and sexuality are very important aspects of the human condition, and Erotophobia can have a devastating impact in those who experience it. Some people who suffer from this phobia choose to live their life asexually, that is, without having sex, and others have serious difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships with other people in a satisfactory manner.

Generally, the cause of this phobia is the associative learning or classical conditioning that occurs when a person experience a traumatic event related to sex and sexuality, for example, having suffered a bad sexual experience in the past or having been teased by the size of their genitals (in the case of men).

Now, irrational beliefs and bad sex education can also cause the person to develop this phobia. Some authors affirm that some people are more prone than others to develop this type of pathologies due to genetics .

  • Maybe you're interested: "Vaginismus: causes, symptoms and possible solutions"

Symptoms of erotophobia

Due to the variety of phobic disorders related to sex and sexuality, the object or situation that causes the phobia may vary. However, the symptoms are usually the same:

  • Intense fear of objects, situations and thoughts related to sex and sexuality.
  • Extreme anxiety in the presence of the object or situation that causes the phobia or towards the thoughts or images of it.
  • Avoidant behaviors
  • Feeling of shortness of breath and hyperventilation.
  • Hipersudation
  • Dry mouth.
  • Disorientation and lack of concentration.
  • Tension in the muscles .
  • Anguish.
  • Accelerated heartbeat and increased heart rate.
  • Stomach upset and headache


Phobias are frequent disorders and there are many types of phobic disorders. But even though the objects or situations that cause these phobias are different, the procedure is usually similar in most cases .

On the other hand, since sex is a very important part of a person's life and often also affects relationships, the treatment usually includes a boost to improve self-esteem and correct those beliefs that interfere with the patient's well-being.

Patients with some type of phobia respond well to psychotherapy, and scientific studies indicate that cognitive behavioral therapy is really useful for the treatment of this disorder. Relaxation techniques and exposure techniques are the most used.

An exposure technique that has proven to be really effective in the treatment of phobias is systematic desensitization, which gradually exposes the patient to the sexual situations that he fears while giving him adaptive tools to cope with the phobic stimulus. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis or Mindfulness have also been shown to be effective.

In extreme cases, that is, those in which the patient suffers great anxiety, drugs can be used. Now, always combined with psychological therapy and never as the only therapeutic option.

"Apps" for the treatment of phobias

Currently, new technologies are part of all areas of our life. We can buy online, train at distance universities and even receive online therapy.

Further, the mobile also serves as an aid or therapeutic tool in the case of phobias, there are different "apps" that help patients with phobic disorder through virtual reality or augmented reality.

  • You can learn more about these applications in this article: "8 apps to treat phobias and fears from your smartphone"

What is Asexuality versus Fear of Sex? (September 2022).

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